词汇学（11）Sense Relation Ⅱ Homonymy
Types of Homonymy
Perfect homonymys, also known as absolute homonymys, are words identical both in sound and spelling.
|bank n||the edge of the river|
|bank n||an establishment for money business|
|bear n||a large heavy animal|
|bear v||to put up with|
|date n||a kind of fruit|
|date n||a boy or a girl friend|
Homographs are words identical only in spelling but different in sound and meaning.
|bow||/bau/||bending the head as a greeting|
|bow||/bəu/||the device used for shooting arrows|
|sow||/səu/||to scatter seeds|
|sow||/sau/||female adult pig|
Homophones are words identical only in sound but different in spelling and meaning.
E.g. write, right, rite
Origins of Homonymys
Changes in Sound and Spelling
Some homonymys are native by origin, derived from different earlier forms in Old English. The change in sound and spelling gradually made them identical in Modern English.
|ear||an organ with which to listen and hear||from eare (OE)|
|ear||the grain-bearing spike of com or wheat||from aer (OE)|
|long||not short||from lang (OE)|
|long||to want very much||from langian (OE)|
As a resultof heavy borrowing from other languages, many words of foreign origin concide in sound and/or spelling with those of native originor with those of other foreign origin.
|fair||a market||borrowed from feria (Latin)|
|fair||petty||from faeger (OE)|
|ball||a round object to play with||from beallu (OE)|
|ball||a dance party||borrowed from baller (OE)|
Many shortened forms of words happened to be identical with other words in spelling or sound.
E.g. ad for advertisement, rock for rock and roll
Difference of Homonyms from polysemants
Perfect homonyms and polysemants are fully identical with the difference to spelling and pronounciation, as both have the same orthographical form but different meanings. This creates the problems of diffrenciation. The fundumental diffrence between homonyms and polysemants lies in the fact that the former refers to different lexemes which has two or more distinguishable meanings. One important criterion by which to diffrentiate them is “etymology”, that is to say homonyms are descedants of diffrent sources whereas a polysemant is a word of the same sourece which ahs acquired diffrent meanings in the couse of development.
The second pricipal consideration is “semantic relatedness”. The different meanings of a single polysemous lexeme are related and can be tracked back to one central meaning. On the other hand, meanings of diffrent homonyms have nothing to do with one another. In dictionaries, a polysemant has its meaning all listed under one headword in many cases whereas homonyms are listed as separate entries.
Retoric Features of Homonyms
As homonyms are identical in sound and spelling, particularly homophones, they are often employed to create puns for desired effect, say, humor, sacasm or ridicule.
Consider the following scene that happened in a restraurant.
“You’re not eating your fish. Anything wrong with it?”
“Long time no sea.”